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The story of the Grande Maison, the new book to discover more about Jaeger-LeCoultre.

October 28 2006 at 10:28 AM
Dje  (Login Dje-CC)

Dear JLC fans,

Rarely is a book so much anticipated. During the PuristS visit to La Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre in October 2004, we talked with Mr Jerome Lambert about a new book devoted to the glorious company he leads and manages. The time has come to see this book arrive. All JLC fans can now have a JLC gift for Christmas.


Text as provided by Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre:

Flammarion publishes Jaeger-LeCoultre. The Story of the Grande Maison

The new reference work on Jaeger-LeCoultre. The Story of the Grande Maison provides the first
ever comprehensive overview of the brand’s various facets: its icons, its history, its actors, its
geographical and cultural roots, its unique production facility and its worldwide influence. It is
designed to appeal both to connoisseurs and collectors and to devotees of style and of beautiful

Franco Cologni, author of several specialised jeweller and watch books, has devised a resolutely
innovative form and structure for this publication. Working on the principle that illustrations, above
and beyond their documentary function, must express a brand’s style and refinement, he secured the
cooperation of great photographers such as Canadian artist Douglas Kirkland and Maurizio
Galimberti of Italy. The result is the most complete book ever on Jaeger-LeCoultre, with contents
covering four main themes:

- The discovery or rediscovery of the Vallée de Joux, a place barely on the international map,
perched at an altitude of 1000 metres not far from Geneva, and that has become an
inexhaustible source of inventions and creations.

- The past and present story of the watchmakers, artisans, engineers and other mastercraftsmen
who have conquered the world of fine watchmaking from their Manufacture
Jaeger-LeCoultre workshops.

- The creations, including several icons, illustrated and described in terms of their history,
their design and their technical value: genuine works of art and masterpieces of the human
spirit destined to find their way unscathed through time.

- The refinement of a brand which, within the composite world of watchmaking, embodies the
codes of Haute Horlogerie and conveys the values of excellence, rarity, beauty and
extremely high value added.

In 1833, at the heart of a remote valley, a brilliant inventor named Antoine LeCoultre founded a small
workshop. Progressing from one invention to the next, the workshop became a full-fledged watch
Nicknamed the “Grande Maison”, it gradually united all the skills and professions required
to make complete watches, an indispensable prerequisite for rising to the most daunting technical
challenges and creating watches that have become milestones in watchmaking history.
This book tells how the men and women who have made Jaeger-LeCoultre what it now is have been
writing some of the finest pages in watchmaking history for over 170 years; how a product philosophy
melding shape, content and functions was painstakingly forged; and how such unique and enduring
timepieces as the Reverso, the Duoplan, the Memovox or the Atmos clock were born.

After admiring some of the brand’s vintage masterpieces, the reader is immersed into the timeless
scenery of the Vallée de Joux, a valley located at the heart of the Swiss Jura mountains and recognised
for over a century as the paradise of Grandes Complications. For an entire day, he accompanies a Jaeger-
LeCoultre watchmaker who opens the doors of the “Grande Maison”, unveils some of its secrets and
puts the finishing touch to an exceptional watch of which four models will fly off to Paris, New York,
Shanghai and Tokyo in a journey the reader is invited to follow at the end of the book.

The two following chapters are a trip back through time to explore the roots of watchmaking, how it
spread and developed through the centuries, and its role in the conquest of modern times. A painting
depicts the arrival of this form of craftsmanship in the Vallée de Joux, from the pioneers’ initiatives to the
creation of a first Jaeger-LeCoultre workshop. Based on original research, brand history is dealt with both
from the perspective of individuals and from that of their creations. These amazing chronicles focus on
the same geographical location, since the Manufacture has developed steadily around the original
workshop. But this adventure also opens up wider horizons: Paris, the city of Edmond Jaeger, as well as
Geneva, New York and London. Periods of prosperity alternate with economic crises, with the latter
often tending to be more prolific in terms of creativity.

Four chapters present the brand’s current lines. The reader discovers the “birth certificate” of the
Reverso and its prodigious career up until 2006 – an anniversary featuring the unveiling of the richest
collection ever presented in a single year and culminating in the “revelation” of the Reverso grande
complication à triptyque, the first watch ever to feature three dials driven by a single movement. The
chapter devoted to round watches explores the beauty of watch movements from ultra-thin calibres to
Grandes Complications, as well as the elegance and technical sophistication of the cases and particularly
those created especially for sports watches, the high point undoubtedly being the presentation of the
Gyrotourbillon I with its spherical tourbillon.

In the chapter on ladies’ watches, the history of the Duoplan explains how the designers and
watchmakers of La Grande Maison reconciled precision with elegance in the 1920, and how the Idéale
watch perpetuates this philosophy. The reader discovers the Joaillerie 101 models, equipped with the
world’s smallest calibre.

The last chapter is devoted to the Atmos, the clock that approaches one of the
most enduring human dreams: perpetual motion.

At the heart of each of these chapters, an innovative
editorial device, modelled on a watch complication, invites the reader to enter the very core of the line.

In a chapter entitled “An ordinary magical day”, the reader takes a guided tour of the countless
workshops within the Manufacture. Through the maze of one of the world’s most fully integrated and
inventive Manufactures, he meets the men and women who are daily reinventing Haute Horlogerie. He
listens to them speaking about their skills, their know-how and about the stages leading from the first
idea to production of a new model. He learns the secrets of some of the numerous operations involved
in component-making, assembly, adjustment, enamelling and gem-setting, right through to final testing.

The encyclopaedic vocation of the work is expressed through a chapter which, much like a preview of
the Jaeger-LeCoultre Museum due to open next year, presents some of the most important pieces from
the Jaeger-LeCoultre Patrimony Collection and offers readers a genuine journey through time.

Meanwhile, the most fervent collectors will find an original and exhaustive list of the more than 1000
calibres created by the Manufacture since the 19th century, along with their key specific technical

Published by Flammarion in its “Style and Design” collection, Jaeger-LeCoultre. The Story of the Grande
Maison explores the extraordinary wealth of the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand and pays tribute to the spirit of
invention driving all those who exercise their profession there, including designers, engineers, craftsmen,
artists, polishers, bevellers and gem-setters.

In terms of its contents, this book is the most comprehensive ever devoted to Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Meanwhile, its form and structure distinguish it from all other watch books published to date. For its over
600 illustrations, it has benefited from the cooperation of great photographers such as the Italian artist
Maurizio Galimberti and Canadian Douglas Kirkland.

The author

Franco Cologni

Founder and President of the Fondation Delle Arti e dei Mestieri in Milan; manager, author and journalist
specialising in culture, arts and literature, Franco Cologni heads the Cartier Art magazine. He is also the
author of numerous works on watchmaking and jewellery history, including
- L’Oggetto Cartier, in cooperation with Ettore Mocchetti, 1992
- Piaget. Montres et Merveilles, in cooperation with Giampiero Negretti and Franco Nencini, 1994
- Cartier, l’Arte del Platino, in cooperation with Eric Nussbaum, 1995
- Cartier, la montre Tank, in cooperation with Dominique Fléchon, 1998
- Vacheron Constantin, 2000
- Piaget, 2000
- Piaget Joaillerie, 2001
- Les secrets de Vacheron Constantin, 2005

Franco Cologni has recently resumed his work as a regular contributor to Italian magazines and daily
newspapers such as Ventiquattro, the monthly magazine of Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper. He also writes the
“Trends” column in the AD Architectural Digest.

The photographers

Maurizio Galimberti

Inspired by cubism and the avant-garde, Maurizio Galimberti creates works at the crossroads between
painting, photography and mosaic artistry. Published in Arte and The Times Magazine, his works have
been the subject of numerous exhibitions.

The fifteen chapters of Jaeger-LeCoultre. The Story of the Grande Maison all begin with an illustration
that interprets a Jaeger-LeCoultre watch or calibre. Three double-page mosaics present the Manufacture
and its workshops and four quadruple-page mosaics illustrate the major families of Jaeger-LeCoultre
timepieces. A high point of the work consists of three quadruple-page mosaics presenting over 700
portraits of brand employees.

Douglas Kirkland

A Canadian-born master of the art of portraits, Douglas Kirkland has worked a good deal in the film
world, photographing stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Jack Nicholson, Leonardo di
Caprio and Nicole Kidman

Douglas Kirkland’s pictures tell of an ordinary and yet extraordinary day in the life of a watchmaker in the
Vallée de Joux who is putting the final touch to an exceptional watch: the Reverso Platinum Tourbillon
Squelette. The photographer then illustrates the itinerary of this watch as it sets off to meet connoisseurs
of fine watchmaking in New York, Shanghai, Tokyo and Paris.

Claude Joray

Swiss photographer Claude Joray knows all the secrets that enable him to express the seductive force of
each timepiece, its formal and technical uniqueness, as well as his profound respect for the men and
women who have laboured towards its creation.

His photos of timepieces and watch mechanisms against a black and white background illustrate all parts
of the book that are dedicated to the timekeepers: the introductory portfolio, the four chapters reserved
for the brand icons, and a catalogue with detailed explanations on the brand’s historical collections.

Catherine Gardone

French photographer Catherine Gardone photographs the people who shape and transform raw
materials into manufactured objects. Her works are regularly the subject of publications, exhibitions and
books created in cooperation with writers and ethnologists.
Her workshop photographs illustrate the chapter named “An ordinary magical day” which gives one a
chance to visit the Manufacture workshops and to meet the artisans at work.

Technical characteristics:

245 x 285 mm
382 pages
600 colour illustrations, most of them published for the first time
Four-colour printing plus matt varnish
Paper: 150 grams
Clothbound, flat spine
Four-colour printed slipcase

This luxuriously printed and bound volume features numerous characteristics that make it a new model
of fine art book publishing

- The 15 chapter dividers are printed on architects’ tracing paper (Fedrigoni 110 grams) and are
hand-bound to the book

- A unique characteristic in the shape of 7 hand-bound gatefolds representing the Jaeger-
LeCoultre icons and employees, interpreted by Maurizio Galimberti

- Cover embossed with the brand logo. Four-colour printed dust jacket finished with a matt

The book is published within the “Style and design” series edited by Suzanne Tisé-Isoré and comprising
the following titles in the field of Haute Horlogerie:

Cartier, the Tank watch
Girard Perregaux
The Secrets of Vacheron Constantin
The Cartier Collection: Timepieces

Published in an initial print-run of 18,000 copies, the English, French, Italian and German versions of the
book will be distributed worldwide by the Editions Flammarion, Paris, a specialist in luxury art books.

The book will also be available in Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques and via the Jaeger-LeCoultre website, in all
the above-mentioned languages as well as in Japanese.

Price :

125 Euros
150 USD
200 CHF
200 CAN$

ISBN-10 : 2-0803-0540-9
ISBN-13 : 9782080305404

ISBN : 2-0801-1613-4

ISBN-10 : 2-08-021056-4
ISBN-13 : 978-2-08-021056-2

ISBN : 2-0801-1665-7

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